Gambeano is off on his holibobs so I’m helping to hold the fort whilst he’s sunning himself. I must say I didn’t expect to step into the breach quite so soon, but the announcement on Robin van Persie‘s website has forced my hand somewhat.
So RvP will not be signing a new contract, citing that he and the club “in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal should move forward”. It is easy to feel downhearted, especially as he had his best season last term – it is hard to know where we’d have been without him last season. Part of me wishes we could allow him to run his contract down, the club then looks like seriously challenging for trophies half-way through next season which convinces him to sign one. Sadly, the nature of football these days means we will in all likelihood have to sell him. Besides, the statement doesn’t exactly sound keen on his part. The good thing is that this news is actually quite early in the close season by Arsenal’s standards, and as this news is not exactly a total shock, the club can get down to the business of bringing in replacements. (Emphasis on the plural there.)
With this in mind, I have to say I’m not quite as distraught as some Gooners. Only a fool would seriously believe that players stay for life in the modern game, the days of one-club men like Tony Adams are long gone. Also much as RvP loves the club, he didn’t grow up dreaming of playing for us and never supported Arsenal as a kid, so given that trophies have been sparse to say the least, I think it is understandable that he would want a serious tilt at one elsewhere. (If that truly is the reason of course, and looks like we’ll have to wait for confirmation of the club’s version of events.)
I’ve always been pretty philosophical in situations like this – as players seldom stay at the club for the entirety of their careers, if they want to leave then let them. There are those that will say “if he wants to win trophies he should stay and help us win one”, but in the last 18 months is hard to see how he could have done any more. As deeply disappointing as his eventual departure may be, he has played his heart out for us, and for that at least we should be grateful. But we must remember great attackers come and go – there was an Arsenal before Ian Wright and there was an Arsenal after; there was one before Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry and there was one after, and there will certainly be one after Robin van Persie has departed. And Arsene Wenger unearthed the last two, so I’m inclined to place my faith in him to find the next one. Looking at it another way, perhaps Robin has to leave in order to make way for a next hero at the club.
Admittedly this final paragraph may set me apart from some fans but personally I thank Robin van Persie for all the goals and the efforts – he’s given us some great moments to cheer, far too numerous to mention. But at the end of the day, whether they are heroes like Henry or or sh*ts like Samir Nasri, players eventually leave, so I will wish RvP all the best (although he’ll be massively pushing my goodwill if he goes to another Premier League club). The club is still here, we will rise again, so I’ll just get on with supporting the club I love, The Arsenal.
Ooh to be a Gooner.